THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF ORIGINS JOURNAL OF THE

THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF ORIGINS JOURNAL OF THE

THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF ORIGINS JOURNAL OF THE ADVENTIST THEOLOGICAL SOCIETY 14/1 (SPRING 2003) 4-43 By Richard M. Davidson BASIC ELEMENTS IN THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT In the beginningthe when of origins Godthe Who of origins createdthe how of origins the heavens and the earththe what of origins

WHEN WHO HOW WHAT WHEN WHO

HOW WHAT Absolute or Relative Beginning? TWO MAJOR TRANSLATIONS Independent Clause Dependent Clause In the beginning God

created the heavens and the earth. When God began to create the heavens and the earth. KJV, NIV, NJB, NLT, NASB, NKJV, REB, RSV NJPS , NAB, NRSV,

NEB WHEN--Absolute or Relative Beginning? TWO MAJOR TRANSLATIONS Independent Clause Dependent Clause Creatio ex nihilo is explicitly affirmed.

No creatio ex nihilo is mentioned. God exists before matter. Matter is already in existence when God begins to create. There is an absolute beginning of time for the cosmos.

No absolute beginning is indicated. WHEN--Absolute or Relative Beginning? EVIDENCE FOR INDEPENDENT CLAUSE Hebrew grammar and syntax Short, stylistic structure matches rest of chapter Theological thrust matches rest of chapter All ancient versions use the independent clause Allusion of John 1:1 to Genesis 1:1 (In the beginning)

WHEN--Absolute or Relative Beginning? CONCLUSIONABSOLUTE BEGINNING I find the weight of evidence within Scripture decisive in pointing toward the traditional translation of Genesis 1:1 as an independent clause: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. WHEN--Absolute or Relative Beginning? WHEN

WHO HOW WHAT WHEN WHO HOW

WHAT Literal or Non-Literal Beginning? EVIDENCE FOR LITERAL BEGINNING Literary genre of Genesis 1-11 (historical narrative prose) Literary structure of the book of Genesis (generations) Specific temporal terms (evening and morning) Interpretation by Jesus and the biblical writers WHENLiteral or Non-Literal Beginning?

CONCLUSIONLITERAL Based upon the testimony of the Genesis account and later intertextual allusions to this account, I must join the host of scholars, ancient and modernboth critical and evangelical who affirm the literal, historical nature of Genesis 1 and 2, with a literal creation week consisting of six historical, contiguous, creative, natural twenty-four-hour days, followed immediately by a literal twenty-four-hour seventh day, during which God rested, blessing and sanctifying the Sabbath as a memorial of creation.

WHENLiteral or Non-Literal Beginning? WHEN WHO HOW WHAT WHEN

WHO HOW WHAT Multiple of Single Beginnings? ACTIVE GAP THEORY Gap between Gen 1:1 and 1:2 Satan ruled an originally perfect creation some unknown time ago, before his rebellion

Earth became chaotic because of Satans experimentation Gods judgment WHENMultiple or Single Beginning? ACTIVE GAP THEORY Theory flounders on grammatical grounds The earth was without form and void Hebrew grammar leaves no room for this interpretation WHENMultiple or Single Beginning?

CONCLUSION--INITIAL UNFORMED UNFILLED God is before all creation (v 1) There is an absolute beginning of time (v 1) When God creates the heavens and earth (v 1), at least the earth is at first

unformed and unfilled (v 2) God forms and fills the earth in six successive, literal, 24-hour days (v 3ff) God rests on the 7 th day, blessing and sanctifying it as a memorial of creation (2:1-4) WHENMultiple or Single Beginning?

WHEN WAS THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING? No Gap Passive Gap Genesis 1:1-2 are on day one Genesis 1:1-2 go together Raw materials are included

in the first day of the sevenday creation week Genesis 1:3 Gap Raw materials of the earth were created before perhaps long beforethe seven days of creation week WHENMultiple or Single Beginning?

EVIDENCE FOR PASSIVE GAP 1. Beginning and ending pattern of each creation day: And God said and there was evening and there was morning WHENMultiple or Single Beginning? EVIDENCE FOR PASSIVE GAP 2. Difference between: The dyad heavens and earth (entire universe)

The triad heaven, earth, and sea (earths three habitats) WHENMultiple or Single Beginning? EVIDENCE FOR PASSIVE GAP 3. The Hebrew word for beginning in 1:1, which refers to a period or duration of time which falls before a series of events. WHENMultiple or Single Beginning?

EVIDENCE FOR PASSIVE GAP 4. Gods creation by differentiating or separating previously-created materials 5. Two-stage creation process from raw material: Forming Adam from clay Forming Eve from Adams rib WHENMultiple or Single Beginning? EITHER OPTION POSSIBLE No Gap

Passive Gap Genesis 1:1-2 are on day one Genesis 1:1-2 go together but are separated from verse 3 by a gap Raw materials are included in the first day of the sevenday creation week

Raw materials of the earth in their unformed-unfilled state were created before perhaps long beforethe seven days of creation week WHENMultiple or Single Beginning? WHEN WHO

HOW WHAT WHEN WHO HOW WHAT

Recent or Remote Beginning? (thousands or millions of years) EVIDENCE FOR RECENT BEGINNING Chronogenealogies Genesis 5 and 11 give a continuous record from Adam to Abraham In the OT, begat is the special causative form that always refers to actual direct physical offspring. From Abraham to the present is clear from Scripture, and the total is only some 4000 (+/- 200 years) Creation week unambiguously occurred recently

WHENRecent or Remote? EVIDENCE FOR RECENT BEGINNING Character of God It is totally out of character with the God of the Bible to allow a history of cruelty and pain to go on for long periods of timemillions of yearswhen it would serve no purpose in the cosmic controversy against Satan The genealogies, pointing to a recent creation, are a window into the heart of a loving, compassionate God

WHENRecent or Remote? WHEN WHO HOW WHAT TWO NAMES FOR GOD Two names for God appear in the Creation accounts:

Elohim Generic, all-powerful One Emphasizes transcendence Yahweh Covenant name Emphasizes immanence WHO NOTICE 1.No proof of God is provided, but the assertion of His existence is bold. 2.God is the ultimate foundation of reality.

3.The portrayal of God in the creation account provides a polemic against the ANE gods: Polytheism Moral decadence Rivalry Mortality Pantheism WHO NOTICE 4. There are intimations of the plurality of the Godhead:

Spirit of God in Genesis 1:2 The creative Word (ten times in Genesis 1) Let us of Genesis 1:26 5. It would be natural for the plurality of persons within the deity, whose character is one of covenant love, to wish to create other beings with whom He could share fellowship. WHO WHEN WHO

HOW WHAT DIVINELY By Divine bara Exclusively Gods action Creating something totally new and effortlessly produced HOW

DIVINELY By Divine bara Exclusively Gods action Creating something totally new and effortlessly produced By Divine Fiat By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouthFor He spoke and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast (Psalm 33:6, 9) HOW

AS A POLEMIC As a polemic against ideas in Mesopotamian creation texts: Struggle between dieties Struggle with forces of chaos Sexual activity between the gods Worship of sun and moon HOW DRAMATICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY

Forming the unformed Filling the unfilled Light Luminaries Sky and waters separated Birds and fish

Dry land and vegetation Animals and man HOW DRAMATICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY Forming the unformed Filling the unfilled Light

Luminaries Sky and waters separated Birds and fish Dry land and vegetation Animals and man HOW

DRAMATICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY Forming the unformed Filling the unfilled Light Luminaries Sky and waters separated

Birds and fish Dry land and vegetation Animals and man HOW DRAMATICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY Forming the unformed Filling the unfilled

Light Luminaries Sky and waters separated Birds and fish Dry land and vegetation Animals and man

HOW DRAMATICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY Forming the unformed Filling the unfilled Light Luminaries

Sky and waters separated Birds and fish Dry land and vegetation Animals and man HOW DRAMATICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY Forming the unformed

Filling the unfilled Light Luminaries Sky and waters separated Birds and fish Dry land and vegetation

Animals and man HOW DRAMATICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY Forming the unformed Filling the unfilled Light Luminaries

Sky and waters separated Birds and fish Dry land and vegetation Animals and man HOW WHEN

WHO HOW WHAT LIGHTS One option: Sun not present till 4 th day--Gods presence was the source of light the first 3 days 1:4 God divided the light from the darkness 1:18 luminaries divide the light from the darkness

Psalm 104God described as covering Himself with light Another option: Sun present but unused before 4th day Became visible, given purpose, or became fully functional on day 4 Stars Syntax does not require the creation of stars on day 4 (could be parenthetical) WHAT OTHER ISSUES

TWO DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS? Beginning in 2:7, more detailed description of day 6 Focusing attention on humanitys personal needs DEATH/PREDATION BEFORE SIN? Not only is there no death on this world before creation week, there is no life! Genesis 1:1-2 make no room for living organisms to be present upon planet earth before creation week, let alone death and predation.

THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF ORIGINS JOURNAL OF THE ADVENTIST THEOLOGICAL SOCIETY 14/1 (SPRING 2003) 4-43 By Richard M. Davidson Summary and Narration: Carol Raney

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